Outreach and engagement of Indigenous businesses: Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs—June 19, 2020

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Office of Small and Medium Enterprises

PSPC’s OSME has been active in engaging with Indigenous businesses long before the pandemic. With 6 regional offices across Canada, OSME actively engages with Indigenous communities and businesses to leverage procurement to support economic development. An Indigenous Entrepreneur Centre of Engagement, based in Pacific Region, provides functional guidance and support to the other regional offices.

OSME has partnered with the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO), a national Indigenous organization involved in community economic development. The partnership is designed to help CANDO and its economic development officers support Indigenous businesses, across Canada, interested in participating in federal procurement.

As a function of its relationship with CANDO, OSME has run 3 webinars targeted for Indigenous businesses and communities on how to find opportunities to provide goods and services to the Government of Canada during COVID-19, with a total of 177 participants. These webinars were delivered by OSME in partnership with CANDO and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), and in close collaboration with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).

In addition, OSME has been working to support individual Indigenous businesses that are well-positioned to be potential suppliers. This has included in-depth support such as helping to make connections with the Indigenous financial institution and regional or local economic development organizations, in addition to standard information on how to participate in federal procurement.

OSME is also increasing its outreach and engagement activities with Inuit businesses and communities in Nunavut in support of the implementation of the Directive on Government Contracts, Including Real Property Leases, in the Nunavut Settlement Area. The directive ensures that government contracting in the Nunavut Settlement Area will meet the Government of Canada’s obligations under article 24 of the Nunavut Agreement.

Lastly, in British Columbia, given the unique status of the First Nations Health Authority, PSPC Pacific has worked closely with them to help identify sources of supply for personal protective equipment.

Canada COVID-19 Supply Council

The minister of Public Services and Procurement chairs the new COVID-19 Supply Council which is made up of 16 members from the private and non-profit sectors, including CCAB. Council members will provide advice on building innovative and agile supply chains for goods in wide use such as masks, gloves and disinfectants, including production, sourcing, shipping and distribution strategies as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve. The council will also advise on the role that the Government of Canada can play to mobilize and enable the work of the private and non-governmental sectors in these areas.

Minister’s Supplier Advisory Council

The minister’s Supplier Advisory Committee was established in January 2013 as an ongoing advisory body on potential improvements to government procurement. The committee’s mandate is to provide advice and make recommendations concerning procurement initiatives in support of the department’s mandate such as the electronic procurement solution, as well as the advancement of green and social procurement. The Supplier Advisory Committee also contributes to understanding and addressing barriers that smaller businesses face in federal procurement, including those faced by Indigenous-owned businesses.

The committee is composed of representatives from 9 national industry associations and organizations including the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC). The President of CAMSC, Cassandra Dorrington, is a longstanding and active member and participates in multiple procurement modernization initiatives aimed at increasing supplier diversity making federal procurement more inclusive.

Partnership with Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council

OSME has also established a corporate partnership with the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC). CAMSC’s mission is to champion business relationships and economic growth of the Canadian supply chain through the inclusion of Aboriginals and minority suppliers.

This partnership helps OSME to:

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